The Event raises $1 million dollars for Safe Water Network to create better access to safe drinking water in India and around the world.
NEW YORK: Hollywood legend and philanthropist Robert De Niro, Grammy Awards winner Norah Jones, Indian actor Anupam Kher and singer-songwriter Robin Thicke were among dozens of celebrities and influential Americans who attended “Water for All Ball” in New York on Wednesday.
The fundraising event, held at The McKittrick Hotel in mid-town Manhattan, raised $1 million for the New York-based Safe Water Network, a nonprofit co-founded by the late actor Paul Newman. The money will support the organization’s efforts to provide clean, safe and affordable water to millions in India and Ghana and bring the expertise of Safe Water Network to communities around the world.
Speaking on the occasion, two-time Academy winner De Niro recalled his friendship with co-founders Paul Newman and John Whitehead, and reflected on how the organization’s work is carrying on their legacy.
“The world isn’t going to be safe by one sweet gesture, but through initiatives like Safe Water Network and [through] continuing support, we can make the world a better place,” he said. The actor, producer, and director added, “[There] are rights that logic and humanity tell us should be universal — among them are freedom, healthcare, clean air, a robust environment, sufficient food, and safe water for drinking and hygiene.”
Safe Water Network CEO Kurt Soderlund, who welcomed the more than 250 guests, shared the many milestones that the organization has marked since its founding, providing examples of how the it is now leveraging its success to advance its approach for global impact.
The Chairman of Safe Water Network’s board of directors, Steve Zide, reflected on the unique partnership that gave birth to the nonprofit. He also honored Founding Chair Emeritus Josh Weston, Paul Newman, and John Whitehead.
Newman’s daughter Clea accepted the award for her late father, while David Earls accepting for the extended Whitehead family.
Guests were treated to performances by Jones and Thicke.
Jones, who launched her solo music career in 2002 with the release of Come Away with Me, offered a fusion of jazz, country, blues, folk, and pop.
Thicke rose to international fame in 2013 with his single “Blurred Lines” (which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100), and is currently a judge on the Fox musical competition show The Masked Singer.
While backstage, Thicke congratulated Safe Water Network and Paul Newman for the important work that the organization does.
New Jersey Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker greeted the audience in a video message that emphasized the importance of safe water. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, India’s Rajya Sabha Member Rajeev Gowda, and the Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty were other dignitaries in attendance.
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Safe Water Network’s “small water enterprises” reaches more than 400 communities in India and Ghana. The organization working with local governments, implementers, development agencies, and other stakeholders to advance “breakthrough” impact and global scale capable of transforming the lives of many millions in need of safe water.
Founded in 2006 by Newman, Whitehead and Weston, it has offices in New York, New Delhi and Accra.